Chair’s message: Paying it forward (May/June 2023)
This month, we are celebrating our Class of 2023 – 161 newly minted family doctors, plus 55 enhanced skills graduates, who have successfully completed their residencies and additional studies at DFCM and are poised to launch into what I hope will be long and successful careers in family medicine.
As we mark this milestone and celebrate the hard work that our graduating residents, have poured into their studies and rotations over the past two or more years, I have been reflecting on how important it is to also mark the efforts of the preceptors, supervisors, mentors, faculty leaders, and administrative staff that make medical school and residency such a rich and rewarding learning experience.
Each of us has had the benefit of teachers, preceptors, and mentors who challenged us, supported us, and helped us to grow into the professionals we are today. That mentorship doesn’t stop – we all continue to lean on each other throughout our careers so we can continue to grow as professionals and people. For the many, many teachers who are part of the DFCM family, you have chosen to ‘pay it forward’ – providing our learners with the support they need to join you as members of the family physician community. This is a chain of family medicine mentorship which our new graduates now have the opportunity to join.
Observing the discovery journey of those early in their careers is one of the things that can help protect us from burnout. It can remind us of our own learning journeys, reconnect us with the reasons we chose family medicine, and help us keep up to date on the latest guidelines!
So, wherever you are in your career, consider whether you can pay it forward and play the role of mentor for a learner or a colleague.
For our graduating residents, perhaps that means joining DFCM as a faculty member. For current residents, it might be co-teaching medical students. And for our faculty members, perhaps there is a formal mentoring or leadership role within DFCM’s programs that would be a good fit.
As part of the DFCM strategic plan, we have committed to creating more support for our new graduates in their first five years of practice, to ease the transition into independent practice and build stronger links with the family medicine teachers of tomorrow.
At its best, mentoring inspires conversation, connection, and community – themes that are central to the work we do here at DFCM. For people and communities who have been dislocated from chains of connection and mentorship, these themes are critically important. June marks National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous People’s Day (June 21), a time to celebrate Indigenous knowledge systems and reflect on the resilience of communities that, despite the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization and anti-Indigenous racism, are building community and connections across generations.
At DFCM, we are honoured to have an Indigenous Leadership Circle who – with great patience and commitment – are helping guide us on matters related to Indigenous health and self-governance within our department. The concept of community ties and mentoring the next generation of First Nations, Inuit and Metis leaders in family medicine is a theme being actively explored at that table.
As we gather to celebrate our individual and collective achievements, and acknowledge the work still to be done, I hope you will join me in thanking those who make our success possible.
To our graduates: congratulations! And to the many faculty members, staff and DFCM leaders who worked to support them: a very sincere thank you.